As we start 2015 I am creating collage photos of the dye plants and the finished product in one photo. Quite a composition challenge! Here is a start! Happy New Year to all!
This is a silk shawl donation for our public library here in Johnson City, Texas coming up in March. It is screen printed with an iron mordant and dipped in our Texas Persimmon.
And these are some large silk wraps dipped in my local native or garden grown dye stuff. Starting top left and working clockwise…..the source colors are Texas persimmon, Texas red madder root, Japanese indigo and teloschistes exilis, slender orange bush lichen.
These silk wraps will be heading to our local art gallery, Texcetera
Some of you know that I am now interested in reduce the stress on my arms due to a shoulder operation. So….meet Persi, short for Persimmon. I met him at an antique mall masquerading as a sausage stuffer.
Persi with the full press on the persimmons
Persi will be replacing my cedar post, which was used to smash the persimmons. I would put the soaked persimmons in a 5 gal bucket and smash away.
Put persimmons in 5 gal bucket, proceed to smash to release juice and expose seeds for more tannin
Now, I soak the persimmons as usual and then move them into a paint strainer bag and let Persi have at them. Actually he works fairly well, breaking the skin and releasing the juice. I still need to do some repairs on the o-ring to reduce leakage but progress is being made!
Swinging lid to put in mesh bag of soaked persimmons
He is made of iron, so I will always be adding a bit of sadness to my color. I decided to run some shirts thru the bath that came out of the press to see how sad the color was. Looks good to me! These shirts started out as beige and brown and the yellow shining thru.
Persimmon juice on shirts
My shoulder surgery therapy has moved to strengthening (1-2# weights). Things are moving in the right direction. In the meantime I am trying to explore areas that I can maybe use on painted warps in the future. Hopefully giving my shoulder time to calm down from the weight exercises.
Today I am venturing into screen printing with natural dyes. I’ve learned from Michel Garcia and Catherine Ellis about using the iron modifier in your thickener to screen print THEN run your natural dye bath. So, I mixed my guar gum and created ferrous acetate from my ferrous sulfate and let fly with the screens.
The test silk is drying now. I am risking my test silk to see if it is damaged by the iron. Tomorrow I’ll dung it with calcium carbonate to fix the iron. Once it is dry the iron is bonded and won’t migrate from the print. Then some pieces will take a trip thru my persimmon dye and some thru the lichen. Once I am happy with my tests I’ll move on to some silk scarves and a silk shirt for a real skill test.
The blank squares on the piece were left for just printing with lichen and the guar gum, always room for one more test! I’ll be able to see if my lichen and persimmon dyes are strong enough to cold print and solar set.
I am a little late posting my results but better late than never! May I add that it was not the smartest practice for me to run lichen (purple) and yellow (persimmon and weld) baths at the same time. I had to be way more obsessive with my pot washing to ensure I did not mix the two colors on my skeins. I’ve also decide I like running one substrate at a time. The two type silks and wools work easily in the dye bath but they required different lifting and processing. That is because I was doing some clean up overdyeing and dyeing some stash busters. I’ll be more orderly in the future!
Lichen Over dye
This wool was over dyed with my lichen (some leftover 2nd & 3rd exhausts).
The first photo is some easter cedar which was a nice golden beige but I wanted to see what the lichen would do over the beige.
The lower photo is what I got with the lichen over dye. Nice,one really cannot see the yellow beige shining thru the purple lichen. This is going into my rug planning.
Easter cedar over dyed with lichen
In the meantime, I had some silk that I had degummed Rapenzul from Henry’s Attic and some Habu silk. They both took the 1st exhaust lichen in a very BRIGHT way! The raw silk really took on a bubble gum pink which is startling to me. I’m trying to get use to it but I’m thinking an iron overbath might make it more bearable for me. Or maybe indigo…..it is almost time to do the first indigo harvest…..
I tried my fresh weld and got a much fainter yellow on my wools than I got on my silk last year. So I pulled my dried leaves from last year and cut much more fresh weld and redyed the wools. Can you see the difference? Both took on a much deeper yellow. Still not as bright in comparison to last year’s vibrant yellow on the silk! These large skeins will be broken down and dipped in indigo to create some greens.
Cold Persimmon Dips with some Vintage varieties!
Next I had my aged persimmon juice, 2011, 2012 and this year’s 2013. In my search for black I’ve been holding back some of the persimmon as I harvest it and set it aside to age and see if I can come up with a nice black. I am very happy with the 2011 color. There was not too much difference between 2012 and 2013 so I think a two year age is best. It has deepened considerably and I still have set aside to see what another year does to the color. The other colors I’ll probably over dye with the upcoming indigo harvest!
Top 2011 vintage
Middle 2012 vintage
Bottom 2013 fresh dip
Did 3 dips of 10 minutes with an hour of sun time in between each dip
Before Orvus wash
After Orvus wash
This morning is dedicated to degumming silk. It is a pleasant morning to listen to the kettle sing and watch the cat in his dream of catching hummingbirds.
I did a cold test of Habu’s Kinari N-63B, explained here:
in oak gall, persimmon and two lichens before I degummed or mordanted the silk. The silk literally sucked in the dye without any treatment. Hmmmmm, something to consider in the future.
After degumming the silk will make its way thru the mordant prep and finally the dye pot! Two skeins will make their way thru the cold process of persimmon dips and sun darkening. The second two will go thru the high alkaline lichen pot. We’ll see how it holds up. I have confidence it will!
Later this afternoon my weld flowers have simmered and are waiting for a wool dip. We’ll see if I simmered enough for 8 ounces of wool!
So before temps soar above 100 today I picked & prepped some more dyestuff. The Diospyros Texana Persimmon branches are heavy with the green fruit and is ready to pick.
An item of interest, in the four years I’ve been watching the persimmon bushes I’ve never seen a heavier or thicker crop on the branches. I don’t know if this is the effect of more rain earlier this year compared to the 2009 & 2011 drought years. We’ll see soon how the color comes in on the silk.
In addition I strained some of my Parmotrema Austrosinense Lichen which has been soaking in a high ph bath of ammonia and water.
The lichens gathered in Dec 12 are on the left and the lichens gathered in early fall 2012 are on the right. My paper towel test gives me a decent indication as to what color to expect a dye bath to yield. Do you think it is the 3 month soak difference or the time of year gathered?
Time to wash the dishes & head inside to cool off!
Once again I am working with Diospyros texana Texas persimmon, Mexican persimmon, Black persimmon, Chapote, Chapote prieto member of the Ebenaceae (Ebony Family).
About two weeks ago I did an early pick. The persimmons were green and hard, not a hint of softness. They’ve soaked for two weeks so they are very easy to smash. I dumped them into my plastic tub & pulverized them as best I could. The meat and seeds were released and one can see the yellow dye. They’ve gone back in the jar for another week’s soak and then it will be time for some dyeing.
Other branches have already been weighed down by the persimmons’ weight OR broken by raccoons starting their tastings early. John and I trimmed those and I’ve started another jar soaking. To my eye and feel it still looks early for good color but one just has to test to understand the color window!